« Italian Polka » likely dates to 1906, the year Rachmaninov had resigned his duties as conductor at Moscow's Bolshoi Opera. Rachmaninov left Russia and spent a brief time in Italy. It was probably there that he wrote this attractive bon-bon. While the piece divulges many stylistic traits of Rachmaninov, its joyous, playful mood, as well as its slapstick character and perky rhythms, resembles little else in the composer's solo piano output. This is Rachmaninov in the salon, tipping his hat to the lighter, more folk-ish side of Liszt, with an Italian twist. The main theme is comical in its bouncy flow of busy notes.